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COVID-19 vaccine for children could be coming soon; What happens if parents are not on the same page?

Rights, recommendations from a legal expert
Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 11:01 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Clinical trials are underway to get the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines approved for the use of children.

“We have already started on what’s called an aged de-escalation testing,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser and the nation’s top infectious disease expert. “That means that you start off, for example, we know with one of the vaccines it’s 16 and then [the other] one is 18. We will go from 16 to 12, from 12 to 9. What you do, because you don’t want to have to go through an efficacy trial where you’re involving tens of thousands of children to show efficacy, what you can do is in a much smaller trial; measured in hundreds to a couple of thousands, to do what we call ‘safety in a phase 2 A for immunogenicity’.

“If you can show it’s safe and that it in fact induces the kind of response that is reflective of the protection … you can then bridge that to the efficacy data that you got from the 30,000 trial with Moderna and the 44,000 trial that we did with Pfizer.

“Over the next couple of months, we will be doing trials in an age de-escalation manner so that hopefully by the time we get to the late spring and early summer, we will have children being able to be vaccinated according to the FDA guidance.”

A new poll by Phoenix research firm OH Predictive Insights recently found the following from Arizona respondents:

  • 3% vaccinated
  • 59% plan to get vaccinated
  • 13% undecided
  • 25% will not get the vaccine

While that is up from the 38% who said they would not get the vaccine four months ago, it still shows a divide; one that is sometimes seen within families.

Dustin McCrary is a divorce lawyer who has worked with many parents who couldn’t agree on their child’s medical treatment.

“You would not believe the litigation that revolves around whether a child is autistic and what treatment needs to be provided for that child,” he said. “I have [also] seen it as far as ADH prescriptions or other alternative treatment.”

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, he says children have little say legally.

“I’ve heard our courts say the same reason you don’t allow a 14-year-old to decide whether they are going to smoke cigarettes, the same reason you don’t allow a 14-year-old to skip school … is the same reason you are not going to let a child make a life-altering decision like this,” McCrary said.

The responsibility lies with parents and legal guardians.

“If you and your spouse have joint legal custody where you both get to make these life-changing decisions and you can’t decide, a judge is going to have to decide,” McCrary said.

The ruling, he adds, can vary widely depending on what state you live in and even which county.

“A judge, which is a stranger in a robe, they don’t want to decide whether little Johnny and little Suzy should be vaccinated,” McCrary said.

Not only is it expensive, McCrary says the process could take up to a year.

“Your best outcome is to sit down with your ex-spouse and figure out a way to compromise,” he said. “I strongly, strongly encourage parents to remember that there is no one who loves their child more than them other than the other parent. You are co-parents until the day you die and this is just one decision you are going to make of many.”

Arizona could set a COVID-19 vaccination requirement to attend school, however, the state also has a “Personal Belief Exemption” that allows parents or guardians to sign a form saying they “understand the risks involved with not getting the vaccine.” Under the exemption, their child would still be able to attend school.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.